When characters appear to be wearing clothes, bedclothes that remarkably resemble day clothes, or at least women wearing underwear with their nighties - just to protect the actors' dignity. Or something.
This is, in more recent films and TV shows, usually done to tell us something about the character's personality (or, in some cases, just because it's funny). The more practical reason is because actors don't like to not wear clothes. However, when done in older movies, it's because of the Hays Code (Better safe than sorry).
Also, poorer characters might sleep in their street clothes because that's all they have; other characters might actually expect to be woken in the middle of the night and have to go places, meet people, urgently. May be a result of the Limited Wardrobe
This also includes when in other situations articles are worn that wouldn't be in Real Life
, e.g. shoes in your bedroom. Applies when people wear pajamas instead of day clothes, too.
- In comic books, an early issue of Ninja High School depicted one of the female characters sleeping in a not-for-sleeping bra. Readers' letters pointed out how uncomfortable that would be, and creator Ben Dunn admitted he hadn't thought about that.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation Data is shown sleeping in uniform in "Phantasms".
- The Three Stooges would often appear to be wearing pajamas or nightgowns, only to reveal that they have their street clothes on underneath when removing them.
- In Skyrim, it is possible to remove the clothes that people are wearing when they are asleep.
- In the Legend of Zelda games, lazy Link is seen sleeping in his tunic during beginning scenes, usually before a fictional creature wakes him up.
- In Gilligan's Island, the Skipper and Gilligan sleep fully-clothed in their hammocks. Even their sailor caps and shoes. The other castaways have some form of nightclothes.
- In National Lampoon's Animal House, Flounder wears pajamas under his uniform during ROTC exercises. No explanation is given, though Sergeant Niedermeyer was annoyed they were poking through.
- A couple of early scenes in the novel Hex by Rhinnanon Lassiter has characters sleeping fully clothed, in at least one case with even their shoes on. (Justified in that they didn't have any nightclothes with them and the bedding in the cheap hotel room they were sleeping in wasn't clean.)
- Primer does this as an extension of the Limited Wardrobe. Abe and Aaron are always wearing white oxford shirts, ties, and dark slacks--this includes the one time we see Abe sleeping.
- During a Panicky Expectant Father Flashback episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show we see Rob wearing a full suit including tie under his pajamas. He's been sleeping like that for a week or so, so when Laura's time to go to the hospital comes he can rush on out of there.
- In Ramona and Beezus, Ramona wears super heavy pajamas under her clothes at school. Beezus also rushes out to check on Ramona selling lemonade (unsuccessfully) in her pajamas, really similar pajamas to the Comic-Con example below.
- In Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex, her brothers, and Harper can all be seen in their bedrooms, living room, and whilst wearing heavy pajamas, wearing shoes.
- In a different episode Alex goes to Comic-Con wearing her pajamas as she cannot be bothered to get dressed. Here she is both wearing pajamas instead of clothes and wearing underwear beneath her pajamas. She later gets told she's wearing a really good 'Pajama Girl' costume.
- This is taken Up to Eleven by Barney in How I Met Your Mother. He wears a Night Tuxedo ('Suitjamas').
if someone is purposefully seen wearing pajamas (and just that) in bed, or goes the whole hog a la Scarlett Johansson
in The Island
, saying "Women don't normally sleep in a bra. I can't wake up in this scene wearing a bra, it's ridiculous" then wearing the bed-sheet
to Twenty-Four-Hour Armor